Deutsche Telekom on Monday presented its vision for the all-IP network of the future with a surprising suggestion: Mobile World Congress should drop the 'mobile' from its name.
The industry has been talking about convergence for some years, but "now it's real," said Claudia Nemat, board member at Deutsche Telekom for Europe and technology. As such, we should all meet in Barcelona this time next year for "the Communication World Congress," she said.
"We have to look at the mobile and fixed networks integrated," she said. "It starts with the PSTN migration."
In a metaphor-ridden presentation that likened the migration to IP networks to Italian food, amongst other things, the German incumbent shared its vision for all-IP. Specifically, it aims to complete the migration to all-IP in its home market by the end of 2018, having converted 2.1 million lines to IP already.
It targets 8 million IP lines across its European footprint by the end of this year. It completed the move to IP in Macedonia in January and "Slovakia will be the second" to finish by the end of this year, Nemat said. Hungary, Croatia and Montenegro will come next, while Germany, Romania and Greece will be later, "because they are the most complex."
As it stands, operators have multiple different platforms for different services which means it can take years to roll out new services. "The spaghetti picture is outdated," Nemat said. With a simplified IP architecture operators can move "from spaghetti to lasagne," which will enable them to launch new services in a matter of days or weeks, she explained. It also allows operators to reduce their costs. "The exploding data traffic requires the lasagne," Nemat said.
But IP networks are not all about pasta.
The transformation is akin to Europe's adoption of the euro to replace the many different currencies previously used by its member states, said Niek Jan van Damme, Deutsche Telekom board member for Germany.
Prior to that, "we didn't speak the same language," he said.
Some would argue that we still don't, but the point is pretty clear.
Van Damme took the opportunity to show off the company's new hybrid home router that combines fixed access, LTE and WiFi. The product has been deployed in Montenegro in a small pilot project and will be available for sale elsewhere later this year.
"Be prepared for autumn," van Damme said.